Home Entertainment Hubs Leverage Wi-Fi

By Bill Howard  |  Posted 2003-07-01 Print this article Print

Home entertainment hubs can take advantage of Wi-Fi networks to deliver your media around your abode. PC Magazine surveys the field and picks the winners.

How many gigs of music, photo, and video files are you storing on your PCs hard drive? Uh-huh, we are too. Thats why home entertainment hubs make so much sense. This new type of gadget serves as a bridge between your PC and your AV equipment, allowing you to experience your digital media in a rich, full way.

But if PCs are from Mars, stereos are from Venus. Even as the two grow closer together, major differences remain. Such is the case with the 17 devices we reviewed.

At the low end, diskless digital media hubs sit atop your stereo receiver and convert files from your PC into music your stereo can play. About half of them can also grab photos on your PC and display them on your TV. Most cost $200 to $300 each and use either wired or wireless (802.11b) Ethernet. At the high end, digital jukeboxes ($1,500 to $3,000) have hard drives of 20GB to 120GB that store the equivalent of 100 to 2,000 CDs.

The digital jukeboxes we reviewed can accept MP3 and WMA files that youve already ripped on your PC. They can also send ripped files back to your PC, but only after encrypting the files. This prevents files from being transferred anywhere except to the digital jukebox they came from.

Bill Howard

Bill Howard is the editor of TechnoRide.com, the car site for tech fans, and writes a column on car technology for PC Magazine each issue. He is also a contributing editor of PC Magazine.

Bill's articles on PCs, notebooks, and printers have been cited five times in the annual Computer Press Association Awards. He was named as one of the industry's ten most influential journalists from 1997 to 2000 by Marketing Computers and is a frequent commentator on TV news and business shows as well as at industry conventions. He also wrote the PC Magazine Guide to Notebook & Laptop Computers. He was an executive editor and senior editor of PC Magazine from 1985-2001 and wrote PC Magazine's On Technology column through 2005

Previously, Howard spent a decade as a newspaper editor and writer with the Newhouse and Gannett newspapers in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Rochester, New York. He also writes a monthly column for Roundel, a car magazine for BMW enthusiasts.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel